AMASTERLY elucidation of Pope John's recent enci-' client was given by Fr. John Fitzsimons, parish priest of St. Timothy's Liverpool and former assistant national chaplain of the Young Christian Workers, to an enthusiastic audience of 200 in St. Francis Xavier's Hall, Liverpool, last week.
Under the title: "Social Justice in the Twentieth Century," the meeting was sponsored by the Cathojie Social
Speakers included Mr. R. P. Walsh (C.S.G. National Secretary). Fr. Thomas Cummins (Diocesan Chaplain) and Mr. Frank Loughlin, who presided.
Fr. Fitzsimons, in his opening remarks, referred to the series of social encyclicals ,beginning with Rerun? Novarum of Leo XIII and said the four great years to remember were 1891, 1931, 1941 and 1961. The last encyclical was very different from its predecessors for two reasons: Firstly in thc point of development of the Church's social teaching, and secondly in the character and temperament of the Pope himself.
The two great encyclicals Reruns Novarum andQuodragesimo Anna laid down principles with a certain amount of application, but for the most part they were doctrinal. On the other hand Pope John's was much more practical and the important part is the application to. and treatment of. special problems.
In short it is pastoral and optimistic. It could be summed up as pastoral, positive and practical.
It falls into four divisions. A summary of the teaching of Rerum Novarum and developments of it made by Pius XI and Pius XII; Pope John's clarification of certain points of doctrine; new aspects of the social problem, and the reconstruction of social relationships in truth, justice and love. Fr. Fitzsimons dwelt at length on the last two parts, concluding with an appeal for massive support and leadership from informed and enlightened Catholics as indicated by the Holy Father. They must know the social teaching of the Church, assimilate it and then translate it into action. He emphasised what a great document the encyclical is and its up-to-theminute relevance to the world of today.